Exponent Private Equity LLP (“Exponent”) today announced that it has made a binding and irrevocable offer to The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (“SMG”), the world's leading marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care, to purchase SMG’s European and Australian operations (“the Company”).
Founded in 1868 as a premium seed company for the U.S. agricultural industry, SMG has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of fertilizers, plant controls, pest controls, growing media and other lawn, garden and home protection products in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
The proposed transaction reflects SMG’s commitment – announced as Project Focus in the Company’s fiscal year 2016 – to concentrate more of its resources on its U.S. business.
The proposed sale includes rights to leading garden care brands such as Roundup®, Miracle-Gro®, Weedol®, KB®, Substral®, Nexalotte®, and Osmocote®, among others, and operations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the UK. Under terms of the proposed transaction, employees of the Company in these locations would become employees of the Exponent-owned operations upon closing.
Scotts Miracle-Gro brands and products would continue to be manufactured and marketed in Europe and Australia as a result of licensing and sub-licensing agreements. The Company’s products are currently sold in leading retailers such as B&Q, Bunnings, Gamm Vert, and independent garden centres in its key markets.
“Our international lawn and garden business is the strongest in the marketplace with outstanding brand recognition and a talented and dedicated team of associates,” said Phil Jones, SVP and Head of SMG International. “We’re delighted with the proposed agreement we have reached with Exponent, as they would be an excellent steward of the brands and be well-positioned to take the business to the next level. We expect the proposed transaction to be seamless to our retail partners, consumers and employees.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Simon Davidson, Partner at Exponent, said: “These are market leading garden care brands loved by consumers around the world. We look forward to working with the Company and investing further in advertising and innovation to continue to grow these brands and unlock the full potential of the business.”
Exponent is an experienced and successful investor in consumer businesses with high-growth potential and has a strong record of successful corporate carve-outs.
The proposed transaction is expected to complete before 30 September, 2017, subject to regulatory approval and prior consultation with works councils and employee representative bodies.